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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Join opposition if you like them so much, Ku Nan tells Saifuddin

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor says today a former Supreme Council member should just join the opposition if he likes to appear at its events. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Ahmad Muslim, October 1, 2015. Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor says today a former Supreme Council member should just join the opposition if he likes to appear at its events. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Ahmad Muslim, October 1, 2015. 
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah can join the opposition if he likes to attend its programmes, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said.
This follows the former Umno Supreme Council member’s insistence that he would continue to attend opposition events despite being given a show-cause letter after he appeared at Pakatan Harapan’s launch last week.
The Federal Territories minister also said if the former deputy minister thought the opposition was better than the government, he could follow them.
“If he feels that Barisan (Barisan Nasional) is not a good party he can do whatever he likes, but don’t become a member of any component (party) of Barisan Nasional and try to jeopardise (party), don’t be a thorn in the flesh... that’s my advice to him,” he said when asked to respond to Saifuddin’s statement yesterday.
Saifuddin said last night that he was used to attending such programmes, adding that he saw no harm in doing so.
- TMI

Why invite Dr Mahathir to high tea, Ku Nan asks Umno branch

 Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has demanded an explanation from a branch in Selangor which invited Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to one of its functions this weekend. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Ahmad Muslim, October 1, 2015.  Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has demanded an explanation from a branch in Selangor which invited Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to one of its functions this weekend. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Ahmad Muslim, October 1, 2015. 
An Umno branch in Selangor will be asked to explain its intention in inviting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to a high tea on Saturday, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said today.
Tengku Adnan said the Pusat Bandar Taman Cempaka Umno branch, which was part of the Pandan Umno division, could continue with its plan if it didn’t violate party ethics.
“I don’t know, I don’t know why they want to invite Tun Dr Mahathir.
However, he said action would be taken against the branch if it went against party ethics.
Pusat Bandar Taman Cempaka Umno branch chief Syed Saifuddin Syed Harman said the decision was made by its committee given the worrying state of political affairs.
It is the first Umno branch in the country to hold a programme to allow the former Umno president, who is on a campaign to oust party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister.
“No other branch is willing to step forward in this political and leadership crisis. I am taking this initiative to give a statesman like Tun (Dr Mahathir) to explain to the people.
“He is an Umno icon. Like it or not, he is still popular among youth and the grassroots,” he was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal yesterday.
The high tea is being held at the De Palma Hotel on Saturday and is open to the public.
- TMI

Yes, Malaysians too poor to pay for high-speed Internet



YOURSAY | ‘Salleh, if people cannot afford high-speed internet then make it affordable.’
Sabahan: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, by saying that Malaysians cannot afford higher internet speed, he implied that the majority of Malaysians are poor.
Yet our PM in United Nations makes the proud claim that "Malaysia has, for example, reduced significantly the incidence of poverty from 49.3 percent in 1970 to 0.6 percent in 2014, while hardcore poverty has been eradicated. Mean household monthly income has increased more than 20-fold, from US$77 in 1970 to US$1,781 in 2014."
So who is correct? Salleh or the PM?
Asitis: Salleh, if people cannot afford high-speed internet then it is your job as minister to make it affordable.
Don't just take your minister salary (which by the way is paid by the poor people who cannot afford high-speed Internet) and give silly excuses for not doing your job and then spend time doing something else (like polishing your boss's boots).
ZhuGeLiang: Minister, this is not true. There is a saying, "Price is what you pay and value is what you get."
The question is, are we getting value for our money by paying too much for too little? Or to put it in another way, for the price that we are paying, should we not be getting a higher Internet speed?
The answer can be found by comparing with our immediate neighbours, Thailand and Singapore.
Anonymous_1426565266: Salleh, for your information, I paid for a 3G plan but gets 2G services, especially in many places in East Malaysia. Therefore it is your infrastructure problem; don't blame the lack of affordability.
Please get your facts right. Cities like Seoul are aiming towards giving free WiFi services. Be humble and learn from other developed countries instead of sitting in the cabinet wasting taxpayer's money by giving lame excuses for not being able to do your work.
Anonymous_1421806811: What a sub-standard reply from a minister. He probably got the answer from one of his staff who most likely gave him the simplest answer.
We expect a more professional answer, perhaps a simple comparison with other countries will show how much we are paying against services received.
Anyway, what do we expect from a man who got his job not because of his knowledge and capability, but his superb skills in apple polishing.
Boiling Mud: Do you know how stupid you sound when you say the people cannot afford higher speed Internet in Malaysia?
Our Internet speed rating is even lower than that of Sri Lanka, whose GDP is less than Malaysia’s.
Why don't you own up to the fact that the Malaysian public has always been given the short end of the bargain - that includes the quality of the ministers and their likes?
Anonymous Kingfisher: Indeed, Malaysia cannot afford to have a slow-speed minister who does not understand the digital era.
Anonymous_1419577444: Salleh, you are not supposed to go to Kedai Maxis to ask how much the Internet packages are so that you can reply to DAP leader Lim Kit Siang.
As a minister in charge of Internet, you are supposed to make sure that the country's telecom/Internet infrastructure is constantly upgraded to provide faster speed, negotiate with service providers to make them lower their prices, and promote the use of Internet to the masses.
That is what a minister should do and what Kit Siang meant. Weren't you given the powers to do so as a minister?
The Internet is not just about blogging. If we even have to teach you how to do your job as a minister, then you should resign so as not to embarrass yourself.
NNFC: Singapore's cost of broadband is much lower than ours. They have introduced a new fibre broadband plan with a download speed of up to 1Gbps which costs just S$49.90 a month.
What is the cost of Unifi? I think Telekom Malaysia (TM) should not be profiteering from the people.
Anonymous_1430119660: In economics, it's about economy of scale, so why not drop the price and allow more to use it?
Vijay47: Salleh, before you click "Submit", do you ever press "pause" and check to see whether your brain connection is online?
How is it that almost every time you open your oral portal, you invariably reveal that something is wrong with your mental service provider?
Our Internet speed is only about 20 percent of what is available in neighbouring countries and you scrape for desperate excuses.
What do you mean 71 percent prefer slower packages because faster access will cost more? You mean users cannot be given an option of speed and rates?
If cost were the only factor, we would still be relying on bullock carts and I am not referring to you. Which brings me to the next question - why are our Internet rates so high? -Mkini

Sorry Najib, you’re not the only PM to golf with Obama



YOURSAY | ‘On Jan 2, 2014, New Zealand PM John Key teed off with Obama in Hawaii.’
SRMan: PM Najib Razak's quip of "I am now on record as the only prime minister to be able to play golf with (Barack) Obama" implies the United States president thought, and is still thinking, more highly of him than his peers from Australia, Singapore or even Britain?
And he (Najib) seems much thrilled with this triumph 'achieved' at a time when a large part of our country was inundated by floods.
If he is so proud of this success, then perhaps we can now replace the well-known expression "Nero fiddled while Rome burned" with "Najib golfed while the country inundated".
Res Ipsa: Golf is an honourable man's game, on and off the course.
On the course, the moment you are caught cheating, your reputation is gone and fellow golfers will ostracise you thenceforth and it is highly unlikely for the errant golfer to get another chance to play with the group again.
It is also normal to see golfers self-declaring any infringement during a game and voluntarily taking the relevant penalty.
Now off the course, since the question of honour/honesty surrounding our PM is seriously in doubt due to the various misdeeds being reported and investigated globally including the US, I will bet my bottom dollar that Najib will never get another round of golf with Obama again.
So it’s best to just treasure the memories of the one and only round in Hawaii.
CQ Muar: Najib, you seemed exhilarated and exceptionally overjoyed that you were the only prime minister in the world to have the privilege to golf with Obama.
I can imagine how the world's top leaders must have envied you. But what makes you more outstanding are the fact that you are also the only top leader to be linked to a gruesome murder scandal, illicit commissions in the Scorpene submarines deal, the missing of RM42 billion in a national project in which you headed, and the unexplained and mysterious RM2.6 billion 'donation' which ended up in your personal accounts.
Sure, Malaysians are proud of your outstanding feats. We won't deny and dispute that, but along with the pride we are ashamed beyond words over those alleged crimes you had bequeathed to the nation.
Kalvin Rekhraj: Now is Najib ignorant or think that the Malaysian students in New York ignorant? On Jan 2, 2014, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key teed off with Obama in Hawaii. That was almost a year before Najib.
And we all remember what happened to the Malaysian ‘Air Force One’ that flew around the world during that period.
Come to think of it, Najib is the only PM in the world that has ever received a single donation amounting to US$700 million. A feat even Obama can't match.
The Rover: Indeed here’s the report by BBC:
“US President Barack Obama has played a round of golf with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key while on holiday in Hawaii. The two leaders - both on holiday with their families in the US Pacific island state - discussed their shared interest in the sport, the White House said.
“Also in the foursome at the golf course at a Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay were Mr Key's teenage son and White House aide Marvin Nicholson. At one point, Mr Obama gave Max Key a high five after the teenager sank a putt.”
Anonymous 759201436321741: When I read this claim by Najib, it gave me the goose pimples. How shameless can one get?
Vijay47: Najib, the only conclusion we can draw from your golf exploits is what a cheapskate you are. Does any world leader crow about such trivialities?
Not only that, you then put on your patriot hat and boasted about "I did it for Malaysia, I did it for my people".
Even Hindi movies do not have such sappy lines and we readers are having a really tough time trying not to puke.
Najib, maybe the next time you go to Hawaii you should do the hula-hula. With or without Obama.
God Save Us: Najib played a game of golf “for Malaysia and for the people”.
He received RM2.6 billion into his personal bank account “for Malaysia and for the people”. He praised the racially-charged red shirt rally “for Malaysia and for the people”.
Yes, he has made lots of sacrifices “for Malaysia and for the people”.
Anonymous #44199885: I am assuming by the term "my people", it refers to all Malaysians because at the moment you seem to be only representing a certain segment of the people.
In any case, can you please share the RM2.6 billion with us in Budget 2016?
Unspin: When Obama first became president in 2009, I read his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ and came away quite impressed, especially after the tumultuous years of George W Bush.
In hindsight, Obama is too idealistic and it has come to pass that he is probably one of the weaker presidents that the US has had.
He is a lame duck who can only talk a good talk but failed in other areas that requires decisive actions - not unlike Najib.
The fact that he saw something good in Najib that all of us could not, sums up Obama as a poor judge of human character and who is only interested in being popular.
Birds of the same feathers flock together, isn’t it? -Mkini

Selangor can decide later on new name, says Pakatan Harapan

Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali is in a bind as his administration needs the support of 13 PAS assemblymen and three PAS exco members to function. PAS is not part of the new opposition pact, Pakatan Harapan. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 1, 2015.Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali is in a bind as his administration needs the support of 13 PAS assemblymen and three PAS exco members to function. PAS is not part of the new opposition pact, Pakatan Harapan. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 1, 2015.
The new opposition coalition is in no hurry to pressure the Selangor government to declare itself a Pakatan Harapan government, amid posers over the future of Malaysia’s wealthiest state following the formation of the new pact.
The new alliance, comprising PKR, DAP and Amanah, has put Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali in a tight spot as his administration relies on the support of 13 PAS assemblymen and three PAS exco members to function.
While Penang has already identified itself as a Pakatan Harapan government, Azmin said the new opposition pact, launched last week, would not affect the state he led.
“The situation in Penang is different from that in Selangor and even Kelantan. We will give the leaders in Selangor time to use their wisdom in managing the state,” said Khalid.
“Once Pakatan Harapan has structured itself properly, and we in Amanah sort ourselves out properly, we will discuss this matter.
“Let’s give PAS time and space to think about their stand, because we believe PAS still needs to join this pact.”
However, Pakatan Harapan supporters, particularly those from DAP and Amanah, have begun asking when would Azmin start making changes to the state government in light of the new coalition.
Pakatan Harapan leaders said Azmin needed to fortify the Selangor government as soon as possible, as it was only last year that it went through a shake-up over the “Kajang move” and menteri besar saga.
In Penang, chief minister Lim Guan Eng wasted no time declaring that his government would officially be known as the Pakatan Harapan government.
Already, Amanah leaders have slowly begun replacing PAS members in the state administration, taking up posts in the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP), city hall and municipal councils, and the various village development and security committees (JKK).
The Malaysian Insider understands that nearly 500 PAS leaders at all levels were given posts in the Penang government when Pakatan Rakyat was formed.
With Lim’s announcement, Amanah members are also poised to replace the four PAS state assembly coordinators of Sungai Dua, Bayan Lepas, Permatang Berangan and Penaga.
The coordinators receive a fixed monthly allowance of RM3,500 from the Penang government.
Appointed by the government, they act as representatives in areas where Pakatan Rakyat had lost in the past general election.
PAS’s MAIPP member, Afnan Hamimi Mohd Taib, will likely lose his post, although his colleague Rosidi Husin is spared, having recently joined Amanah.
Datuk Mohd Salleh Man will remain as MAIPP chairman until his tenure ends, as he was appointed by the Agong.
Two PAS representatives in the local government council will also be dropped, while another two who joined Amanah will be reappointed.
Pakatan Harapan was launched on September 22, three months after Pakatan Rakyat broke up over unresolved disputes between DAP and PAS. 
Critics, including Islamist party PAS, who snubbed the new coalition, said the unveiling of Pakatan Harapan was a hasty move.
- TMI

Saifuddin shrugs off Umno show-cause letter

Umno member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says he has been attending opposition events all his life and does not intend to stop. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 1, 2015.Umno member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says he has been attending opposition events all his life and does not intend to stop. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 1, 2015.
Former deputy minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says he will continue attending programmes held by the opposition, despite a show-cause letter from Umno after he appeared at Pakatan Harapan’s launch last week.
The former Umno Supreme Council member said he had become accustomed to attending such programmes, adding that he saw no harm in doing so.
“I’ve been doing this (attending opposition events) all my life,” Saifuddin told reporters when met at the sidelines of a forum on protecting the dignity of the Malays in Kuala Lumpur last night.
But he said he would not quit his party even though he had been slapped with a show-cause letter.
“I’m not the only one to have ever received a show-cause letter.
“So I think it’s a normal procedure, there is no problem. I am still an Umno member,” said the former Temerloh MP.
Saifuddin said he received the show-cause letter on September 28, despite Ummo secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor saying it was issued on September 22.
Tengku Adnan said Saifuddin had tarnished Umno’s reputation by participating in the opposition’s meeting on the formation of Pakatan Harapan.
Saifuddin has maintained he attended as a civil society member and as a leader of a non-governmental organisation.
- TMI

Come clean on IPIC deal, Tony Pua tells 1MDB

1Malaysia Development Bhd has been silent on its deal with International Petroleum Investment Corporation despite many questions posed by opposition lawmakers. – AFP pic, October 1, 2015.1Malaysia Development Bhd has been silent on its deal with International Petroleum Investment Corporation despite many questions posed by opposition lawmakers. – AFP pic, October 1, 2015.
DAP lawmaker Tony Pua has hit out at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) for not answering questions he had raised in the past over its deal with International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC).
He said the debt-laden state investment arm had only denied his accusations and claimed all were disclosed in their financial statements.
“1MDB has chosen to be remain eerily silent on the questions which I raised with regard to the terms of the US$3.5 billion guarantee and payments made (or not made) to IPIC to buy back options granted to the latter.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said 1MDB must explain why the US$975 million loan it took from the Deutsche Bank-led consortium to buy back options granted to IPIC was not reported in its 2014 financial statements.
He asked if it was because the loan was used to cover up the US$1.22 billion 1MDB said it redeemed from the Cayman Islands.
He said 1MDB had also yet to confirm if it still owed IPIC US$481 million, adding that this debt was reflected in the firm’s financial statements as audited by Ernst & Young.
Pua also wanted to know if 1MDB could confirm if the company and its auditors failed to expense the cost of the options in its 2014 financial statement.
He said the deal had resulted in 1MDB under-declaring its losses by RM3.5 billion to RM5.2 billion.
Pua said 1MDB has also refused to confirm if a US$1.4 billion payment purportedly made to IPIC was a “refundable deposit” as specified in the terms of the bond guarantee arrangement.
“Can 1MDB also confirm that the company effectively only received about US$326 million of the proceeds from the 2012 US$3.5 billion bond issues as it had to pay out US$1.4 billion purportedly to IPIC, US$300 million to Goldman Sachs and at least US$993 million to buy back the options and another US$481 million still due to IPIC?
“Why did 1MDB enter such a bizarre bond issue causing billions of ringgit of losses to the company, and did the prime minister approve of the transaction as required under 1MDB’s Memorandum and Articles of Association?”
He urged 1MDB to “stop playing word games” and provide “straightforward, honest answers” to his questions.
Pua said 1MDB must come clear so that it could be accountable to the public and to avoid become culpable as parties abetting “the single biggest case of fraud in the country’s history”.
- TMI

WILL IGP PROTECT UMNO WARLORD? Rahim's 'Christian Prince' comments are seditious - Selangor royal council

WILL IGP PROTECT UMNO WARLORD? Rahim's 'Christian Prince' comments are seditious - S'gor royal council
Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik's Facebook posting that the Selangor crown prince allegedly converted to Christianity is seditious in nature, said the Selangor Royal Council.
Despite Rahim's repeated apology to the palace for his faux pas, council secretary Hanafisah Jais said the former Malacca chief minister's irresponsible claim had elements of slander.
"After reading the statement issued by Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik, the Selangor royal council feels and summarises that the statement is seditious in nature and has elements of slander which can cause hatred among the Muslims towards the crown prince and the Sultan of Selangor," Hanafisah said in a statement today.
According to The Star Online, Rahim apologised three times over his posting in the last four days.
He had admitted that the source of his claim was from an unsubstantiated website.
"I sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and distress it may have caused DYMM Sultan of Selangor, DYTM Raja Muda Selangor and the Selangor Palace,” he wrote on his Facebook page two days ago.
Hanafisah said Rahim's actions were done deliberately with dishonest intention to question the faith of the crown prince as a Muslim.
Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik
She said as a result of Rahim's posting, there were many responses and comments by the public, especially among Muslims who showed that they were angry and upset with the crown prince and the Selangor sultan.
"The council regrets that Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik did not at all take any steps to verify the authenticity of any postings made by external portals before making his views.
"It is very easy for him to conduct checks to ensure the authenticity of the news if he is really responsible.
"Moreover, the posting went viral last year and the Inspector-General of Police denied it last year after a police report was lodged by the palace," she said.
She also ticked off Rahim for making a statement that the Selangor ruler will allegedly meet with the Pope in the Vatican city, saying that it was a lie and slander which should not have been made by a former chief minister and deputy minister.
In telling the retired politician to immediately stop spreading false news and lies, Hanafisah said Rahim's statement needed to be countered to prevent the spread of such lies and slander. – TMI

TURMOIL GROWS IN MALAYSIA: NAJIB'S NEW 'GANGSTER' NOW WARNS OF STREET RALLIES TO PURGE SELANGOR & PENANG STATE GOVTS

TURMOIL GROWS IN MALAYSIA: NAJIB'S NEW 'GANGSTER' NOW WARNS OF STREET RALLIES TO PURGE S'GOR & PENANG STATE GOVTS
KUALA LUMPUR - Umno veteran Datuk Seri Ali Rustam has warned opposition parties to keep themselves in check or street rallies could be organised to purge their state governments in Selangor and Penang.
The comments by Mr Ali followed a recent announcement by a fellow Umno leader to hold a demonstration against Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in her Kajang constituency in Selangor.
Condemning the string of Bersih rallies which last saw tens of thousands of people, mostly non-Malays, congregating in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu on Aug 29 and 30 to demand a clean government, Mr Ali questioned if the demonstrations were the best approach to replace the Najib administration, the Malay Mail Online (MMO) news site reported.
"If whichever party, including the opposition, feels that that is the way to go about it, then we can also do likewise towards the Penang and Selangor state governments," the former Malacca chief minister told the Umno-owned Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia.
"There are plenty of issues in these two states, but is that the best way to solve problems?" he questioned.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and National Silat Federation (Pesaka) president Ali Rustam shouting slogans during a Pesaka assembly in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Penang is currently run by the Democratic Action Party, while Selangor is overseen by the PKR.
Mr Ali is president of the government-funded National Silat Federation (Pesaka), which called out thousands of protesters, now collectively known as the "red shirts", for an anti-Chinese march to Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago.
He said the Sept 16 "red shirts" Himpunan Maruah Melayu (Malay Dignity Uprising) movement was a tit-for-tat move against the two-day Bersih 4 protest in August.
During the Bersih event, supporters were photographed stomping on images of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, president of Parti Islam SeMalaysia, an opposition Islamic party. Mr Ali said the actions went against the values of Islam and Malay culture.
He also claimed that the protesters at all four Bersih rallies had insulted leaders, the Rukunegara - the national ideology of Malaysia - and the Federal Constitution.
He did not provide examples, according to the MMO.
"This is why we decided to have a demonstration that was allowed by the government," he said.
Earlier this week, Umno's Sungai Besar division chief Jamal Md Yunos, who was also a co-organiser of the "red shirts" rally, told the New Straits Times that the group was planning another rally in Kajang, where he claimed residents felt cheated by Kajang assemblyman Dr Wan Azizah, who allegedly failed to render assistance to residents affected by flash floods.
A "red shirts" rally slated for Sept 26 was aborted with the arrest of Datuk Jamal under Section 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code over his alleged threat to cause a riot in Petaling Street, or Chinatown.
Bersih 4 activists have been demanding the resignation of Datuk Seri Najib over financial scandals involving state-owned investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he advises.
Many Malay critics have denounced the Bersih rally, the fourth since 2007, as part of an attempt by the Chinese to usurp political power.
Mr Najib is embroiled in a political storm after Malaysian authorities probing 1MDB found that some US$670 million (S$956 million) had been transferred into bank accounts in his name. He said the money was donations. - ST

NEXT IN NAJIB'S RACE CARD ARSENAL - CHINESE SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED DOWN? Scandal-tainted PM milks Malay insecurities to cling on

NEXT IN NAJIB'S RACE CARD ARSENAL - CHINESE SCHOOLS TO BE CLOSED DOWN? Scandal-tainted PM milks Malay insecurities to cling on
KUALA LUMPUR - The "red shirt" rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur not so much intensified already fractious race relations in Malaysia as brought to light the insecurities felt by the many Malaysians who identify themselves ethnically, whether they be the majority Malays or minority Chinese and Indians.
Indeed, it was these insecurities that allowed the embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak - embroiled in a financial scandal concerning huge sums of money that flowed into his personal bank accounts - to play the race card, by consorting with the red shirt rally organisers, to gain a lifeline out of his troubles.
The tens of thousands of Malays at Sept 16's United Citizens' Gathering - mostly wearing Malay Dignity Gathering red T-shirts instead - had gathered in Kuala Lumpur to galvanise Malays against a supposed plot by the Chinese to usurp Malay political power.
The narrative of the red shirt rally organisers goes that the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) - a largely Chinese outfit - was using a rally last month in the capital, organised by electoral reforms group Bersih, to force the resignation of Datuk Seri Najib.
The proof, they say, was in the majority Chinese turnout at the Bersih rally, never mind that any realistic replacement of the Premier before a general election would have to be made by Umno, the largest party in Parliament. It is part of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition that also includes Chinese-based party Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Indian-based Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).
In speeches by rally leaders, the banners displayed and racial slurs uttered by participants, such as "Chinese pigs", the red shirts' message was that Malay supremacy should not be challenged.
"There are those that ridicule Islam as Malaysia's religion. We don't want Malays to be under people's feet but we want Malays to remain as masters of this land," said Mr Jamaludin Yusuf, president of welfare group Pekida, which is better known for its links to often violent individuals acting in the interest of Malay rights.
Weighing in with his own race-loaded comments was Mr Najib who, at an event two days after the red shirt rally, said: "The Malays have rights too… and we can rise up when our leaders are insulted, condemned and embarrassed."
Governed by race-based parties that have been plying ethnocentric policies for decades, Malaysia simply cannot avoid the question of race, which must necessarily be read with the subtext "Ketuanan Melayu (Malay dominance or sovereignty)".
Many Malays see themselves as the original community and "owners" of Malaysia, and only grudgingly admit indigenous tribes as co-claimants. But there is a clear economic gap between them and the Chinese who arrived under British rule beginning in the 19th century, a situation that has improved but persists until now, despite growing Malay political power.
Indeed, the argument for greater Malay political control was based on the idea that it was only through such an instrument that the economic imbalance could be corrected, leading to an increasing number of pro-Malay policies and agencies in government that are justified as part of the inalienable rights of Malays, making political discussion of these policies practically taboo.
At the centre of the racial discourse here is the politically sensitive issue of "rights". The defence of Malay rights has gone on for nearly half a century, and yet "Malay rights" is still an amorphous idea, just like the ethnic-based rights of other groups.
To be fair, many Malaysians do not identify themselves along the various pillars of "rights" that some feel are inalienable to their race. But for those who do, they bristle when questioned, let alone challenged, on them.
For the Malays who identify themselves strongly as such, economic and religious privileges are sacred, despite none of these being enshrined constitutionally, as often claimed, most recently by key red shirt figure and Umno divisional chief Jamal Yunus, who said "my racism follows the Constitution".
But the Federal Constitution does not mention "Malay rights", and instead merely safeguards the special position of the Malays and indigenous peoples - the much-used term "Bumiputera (Princes of the Land)" to describe them is also not mentioned in the Constitution - while also taking into account the "legitimate interests" of other communities. This special treatment includes quotas for public sector jobs, scholarships, tertiary enrolment (introduced in a 1971 amendment) and business licences.
Many pro-Malay privileges were introduced only after the racial riots of May 13, 1969, an episode which still haunts the country today. Tun Abdul Razak Hussein - Mr Najib's father - implemented the National Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971 to correct economic imbalances by redistributing national wealth via pro-Bumiputera regulations such as setting aside 30 per cent equity for public-listed firms as well as private ones operating in "strategic" sectors.
But even though it was to have ended in 1990, these policies - which in practice often leave out non-Malay Bumiputeras - have not only continued but expanded to other areas of life, such as discounts and quotas for housing, preferential treatment for lucrative government procurement deals and, according to the US State Department, other "opaque" preferences and practices within the administration.
The government has argued that these affirmative actions must continue because Bumiputeras are still not adequately empowered as the targeted 30 per cent equity in business has not been achieved. So pervasive is this protectionism that pro-Malay elements now refer to them as "rights" even when there are no laws or binding agreements outlining them as such.
Just as irrepressible is the growth of privileges associated to Islam, including state funding for the religion and even the restriction of other religious practices, leading many to argue that the "legitimate interests" of other communities have been invaded.
But other communities also hold fast to "rights", not least that of vernacular education, a hot-button topic for the Chinese. MCA leaders, unable to restrain their Umno colleagues in the ruling coalition from endorsing the red shirt rally, took to lodging police reports against participants who called for the abolishment of Chinese schools.
Advocates insist on a universal right to "mother tongue" education in Mandarin despite most of the community not being able to claim the dialect as part of their ancestry, having adopted it only in recent decades. But as eminent law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi pointed out, there is no constitutional protection for vernacular education.
When caught out on the lack of constitutional basis, "rights" defenders tend to then cite an unwritten "social contract" between Malaysia's founding fathers. But this is a difficult and often divisive concept, with each corner seemingly in possession of a different draft of the contract.
The good news, perhaps, is that contracts can be renegotiated for mutual benefit. The bad news is that nobody seems ready to do so.
A survey by independent polling company Merdeka Centre in 2012 found that just over a third of Malaysians believed that there was "sincere and friendly ethnic unity", down from 54 per cent five years prior to it. Respondents also admitted to trusting other races less than before.
According to Merdeka Centre, such mistrust is most likely due to the intensified discourse in the media on race and religious politics as well as the impact of incidents that have taken place since 2008 which included arson attacks on places of worship, public debate over school textbooks and controversial statements by public personalities.
But perhaps the issue might be forced, once pockets start to hurt.
Corporate captains tend to steer clear of controversy but Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, boss of budget airline AirAsia, cautioned an economic forum last week that Malaysia's positive business climate would unravel if the racial divide widens.
In response, International Trade and Investment Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who is also an Umno state chief, acknowledged that the corporate world was concerned over whether race relations can be "resolved once and for all" and called for stakeholders to "go back to the drawing board".
There is no clearer drawing board than the Constitution. Pressing the reset button won't be a simple task, but the alternative - negotiating increasingly bitter racial grudges - is becoming a negative, rather than simply a zero sum, game. - Asiaone